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Sustainability assurance resources

Take advantage of CPA Canada and external resources to help you understand and address sustainability considerations for audit and assurance.

An increasing number of entities are reporting on their sustainability or environmental, social and governance (ESG) performance. This is driven by a variety of factors, including growing investor and stakeholder demand, and new regulatory requirements.

Assurance is an important component of this evolving reporting landscape, and we expect demand for third-party sustainability assurance services to increase in the future. Assurance providers may also be called upon to evaluate an entity’s sustainability reporting controls and processes, as well as provide advice on sustainability-related reporting and compliance obligations.

We have compiled an inventory of sustainability assurance resources to help you navigate this rapidly changing environment. New content will be added regularly. 

CPA Canada resources

Field with wind turbines, financial information superimposed.Webinars: Sustainability Reporting and Assurance – What You Need to Know (September 2023)
Tune into this two-part webinar to learn about the rapidly evolving sustainability landscape. Hear about recent developments in sustainability reporting and assurance standards and regulatory requirements, and the implications and opportunities for CPAs.

Recycle symbol formed of globe with green arrows around it.Audit Quality Blog (September 2023): Get up to speed on recent sustainability developments
As companies continue to set net-zero targets and momentum builds toward standardized sustainability reporting, CPAs will be called upon to provide independent assurance over this information. Read on to learn about the latest developments.

Businessperson standing in front of a screen displaying sustainable business iconsPractitioner’s Pulse Webinar (October 2022): The sustainable debt market and other sustainability updates
Tune into this webinar for an introduction to the exploding sustainable debt market and for developments in the sustainability reporting and assurance landscape relevant to CPAs, both globally and in Canada.

Hands holding a seedling behind a clear screen with sustainability iconsAudit Quality Blog (October 2022): Sustainability standards developments and their implications for CPAs
Learn about recent global and Canadian developments in sustainability reporting and assurance and the implications for CPAs in public practice, and for their clients.

Financial concept, 3d renderGlobal Research Study (May 2022): Navigating the sustainable debt market
Read this important research for an introduction to the US $1 trillion global sustainable debt market. The final report examines the trends, challenges and opportunities, as well as some considerations for enhancing credibility in an evolving market.

Digital generated image of world map made out of multicolored cubic pattern on white background.Audit Quality Blog (March 2022): Understanding the changing landscape of sustainability assurance in Canada
The assurance profession must play a crucial role to enhance the credibility of high-quality sustainability information. Learn about recent developments in sustainability reporting and assurance, and their impact on the Canadian assurance profession.

Environmental technology concept. Sustainable development goals. SDGs.Sustainability Assurance Alert (July 2021): Third-party assurance over sustainability information
Read this alert to learn about a CPA’s role in third-party assurance over sustainability information.


Close up of person's hands using a laptop computer on grassy surface beside pages with reports.

Audit and Assurance Alert (June 2021): The consideration of climate-related risks in an audit of financial statements 
Climate change is increasingly front of mind for investors and other stakeholders as its effects are increasingly visible. This alert assists auditors in understanding considerations of climate-related risks in an audit of financial statements.

Environmental technology concept. Sustainable development goals. SDGs.A New Frontier: Sustainability and ESG for CPAs and business professionals
Contribute to the future of the profession with the Sustainability/ESG certificate, a professional upskilling product that promotes and supports the wellbeing of stakeholders throughout an organization and society at large.


Sustainability assurance standard setting

International Auditing and Assurance Standards Board (IAASB) 

In June 2023, the IAASB announced that it unanimously approved the draft International Standard on Sustainability Assurance (ISSA) 5000, General Requirements for Sustainability Assurance Engagements (ED-ISSA 5000), for public consultation. The consultation is open from early August until December 1, 2023. 

See the IAASB project page for further information on the status of its activities. 

Auditing and Assurance Standards Board (AASB)

At its January 23, 2023 meeting, the AASB reviewed and unanimously approved a Canadian Project Proposal for a sustainability assurance standard, adopted concurrently from ED-ISSA 5000, as an Other Canadian Standard. The exposure draft for proposed Canadian Standard on Sustainability Assurance (CSSA) 5000, General Requirements for Sustainability Assurance Engagements (ED-CSSA 5000) was approved for consultation at the AASB’s August 2023 meeting. ED-CSSA 5000 will mostly mirror the content of ED-ISSA 5000 with proposed Canadian amendments and potential additional Canadian amendments. Comments to the AASB on this Exposure Draft are due as follows:

  • General questions – November 6, 2023
  • Canadian amendments and potential additional Canadian amendments questions – December 31, 2023

Refer to the AASB’s Sustainability Assurance page for the latest status on this project.

The International Ethics Standards Board for Accountants (IESBA)

In June 2022, the IESBA resolved to take timely action to develop fit-for-purpose, globally applicable ethics and independence standards as a critical part of the regulatory infrastructure to support transparent, relevant and trustworthy sustainability reporting.

As part of its Sustainability Project, the IESBA is developing:

  • Sustainability-related revisions to the International Code of Ethics for Professional Accountants (including International Independence Standards) to address the ethics issues professional accountants might face while providing sustainability-related professional services (including sustainability reporting and assurance)
  • Ethics and independence standards for use and implementation by all sustainability assurance practitioners (i.e., professional accountants and other professionals performing sustainability assurance engagements).

Further information can be found here.

Sustainability reporting updates and resources 

Visit our webpage for a summary of the latest Canadian and global sustainability reporting developments.

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Keep reading: External resources

Relevant resources

The state of play in sustainability assurance
International Federation of Accountants (IFAC), American Institute of CPAs (AICPA) and Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA)

Guidance on extended external reporting assurance engagements in Canada
Auditing and Assurance Standards Board (AASB)

Sustainability assurance – rising to the challenge
Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA)

Sustainability assurance: Factors to consider
Institute of Chartered Accountants of Scotland (ICAS)


Sustainability assurance resource page
American Institute of Certified Public Accountants (AICPA)

Sustainability reporting resource page
International Federation of Accountants (IFAC)

Auditors and ESG information
Center for Audit Quality (CAQ)

NOTE: Resources created by external organizations were not reviewed, developed or approved by CPA Canada. CPA Canada accepts no responsibility or liability that might occur directly or indirectly as a consequence of the use, application or reliance on these external resources.